South Island Winter Adventure

    enquire now 14 Days From NZD $6,299 pp twinshare
    Small group
    Terms & Conditions apply

    2020 two departures: Aug 24, 2020 – Sep 06, 2020 and Sep 07, 2020 – Sep 20, 2020

    Enjoy multi-day hikes to remote natural hot springs, and several opportunities for skiing or snowboarding.


    Remember, the activity distances and elevations that you see on the detailed itinerary are flexible with shorter and longer options usually available. Get in touch if you’d like to chat about these alternatives.

    DAY 1-Arrive, hike Mt John Hiking Distance: 8 kilometres, 2-3 hours
    Meet in Christchurch and head to Lake Tekapo for a hike along the lakeshore before emerging above the treeline on Mt John for breath-taking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Then we’ll carry on to the remote and beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge. The lodge is tucked in beside an alpine lake, with stunning views stretching across to Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Alps – the ideal spot to soak in the hot tub and star gaze! (L, D)

    DAY 2-Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park or ski/snowboard Ohau Ski Area Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres, 2-3 hours
    After a late breakfast on the balcony overlooking Lake Ohau, we’ll take an impressive hike at the head of Lake Pukaki, up the Hooker Valley to a glacial lake complete with icebergs! This is a great spot for lunch and on a clear day, the views of Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, are stunning. We’ll return to the lodge where we’ll enjoy a sumptuous dinner. An option today is to spend the day skiing at the small and friendly Ohau Ski Area, one of the South Island’s more remote backcountry ski fields (B, L, D)

    DAY 3-Hike Mt Aspiring National Park Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres, 3-4 hours
    Today we start the first of two memorable multi-day hikes. We’ll venture up the Matukituki Valley and hike into Mt Aspiring National Park to reach our home for the evening – a spacious mountain hut nestled in a valley in the middle of nowhere. This hike is well suited to winter conditions and the track meanders past majestic snow-capped peaks, fresh mountain streams and natural beech forest. You’ll be carrying a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes and some food, so your pack won’t weigh much more than a regular day pack. The scenery is off the charts with Mt Aspiring rising 3033 metres into the blue sky! It’s amazing how far you’ll feel from civilisation after this relatively short walk! Tonight your guide will whip up dinner in the backcountry kitchen while you relax by the fire. (B, L, D)

    DAY 4-Hike Mt Aspiring National Park and bike Wanaka Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres, 2-3 hours
    After enjoying a delicious healthy breakfast and admiring the views, we’ll hike back to the trailhead. We’ll head to Wanaka for a bike ride along the lakeshore, and then it’s a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown. (B, L)

    DAY 5-Free day in Queenstown
    Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, fishing, winery tours, an historic steamship, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere by the fire at one of the local cafés or pubs. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today. Alternatively, you can go skiing or snowboarding for the day at one of the nearby ski areas.

    DAY 6-Hike Kepler Track and explore Te Anau glow worm caves Hiking Distance: 9.5 kilometres, 2-3 hours
    After breakfast, we’ll travel to Lake Te Anau to hike the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’. Unlike most of the other ‘Great Walks’, which evolved from Maori greenstone trails or pioneer exploration routes, the Kepler Track was custom-made, built for pleasure rather than necessity. The track has been carefully crafted to show walkers all the very best features of Fiordland, from the prolific bird life and tussock high country, to the huge mountain ranges and vast glacier-carved valleys. This evening we’ll take a boat journey across Lake Te Anau to a glittering grotto of glow worms. These fascinating bugs light the way in a 200 metre system of caves, underground waterfalls, sculpted walls and swirling pools. From the darkness of the glow worm caves, we’ll head back into the light of Te Anau where we’ll stay the night. (B, L, D)

    DAY 7-Cruise on Milford Sound, explore Fiordland National Park
    This morning we’ll head towards Milford Sound on one of the most dramatically scenic drives in the world. We’ll pass through the Eglinton Valley, and wind our way through the mountains of Fiordland. Our drive takes us through the Homer Tunnel, an astounding feat of human engineering which must be seen to be believed. Once we arrive you’ll have the opportunity to explore Milford Sound and hopefully spot some friendly fur seals and dolphins. We’ll jump on board a boat cruise, where you’ll gaze in wonder at the waterfalls tumbling down enormous vertical rock faces all around, and journey right out to the entrance of the fiord. This afternoon, we’ll explore the Fiordland wilderness on foot to check out some of its endemic flora and fauna, like the kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand’s notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot and the kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticate), the world’s largest fuchsia. (B, L, D)

    DAY 8-Relax or hike Queenstown
    This morning, we’ll journey past beautiful rolling farmland and around the edge of Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown. You’ll have a couple of hours to spare here to catch up on some shopping, grab a coffee or head off on a local hike – your guides will have plenty of suggestions. Lunch today is an opportunity for you to explore more of the outstanding food scene in Queenstown by yourselves – ask your guides about their favourite places to eat! Afterwards we’ll head through the stunning Southern Lakes district and over the Haast Pass to the West Coast – a long stretch of gorgeous, rugged coastline with a population of only 40,000 people. We’ll mingle with the ‘coasters’ tonight in the tiny township of Haast, exchanging tales of our adventures at the local pub in front of a roaring fire. (B, D)

    DAY 9-Hike to Copland Valley hot pools, Westland National Park Hiking Distance: 18 kilometres, 6-7 hours
    Today we’ll hike into a stunningly beautiful mountain basin, set directly underneath the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, with an awesome highlight – natural hot pools! It’s a challenging six to seven hour hike 17 kilometres  up the Copland Valley with a gradual elevation gain, but it’s absolutely worth it. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. Tonight, we stay in one of New Zealand’s most spacious backcountry huts, a comfortable two-level building. One of the best things about hiking this track in winter is that we may well have the hut all to ourselves! While you soak in the natural hot pools your guide will whip up a hearty dinner. (B, L, D)

    DAY 10-Hike to Douglas Rock Hiking Distance: 14 kilometres, 6-7 hours
    Today we’ll hike further up the track towards Douglas Rock for even more amazing scenery and views of multiple glaciers clinging to the top of the mountain valley. If you prefer, you can have a relaxing day at the hut – soak in the hot pools, enjoy the stunning scenery, or relax with a good book. Either way, the hot pools are without a doubt the star attraction here, closely followed by the dramatic scenery. (B, L, D)

    DAY 11-Hike Copland Valley Hiking Distance: 18 kilometres, 4-6 hours
    An early start sees us on the track, a great time to be hiking with the fresh morning air and stillness. You’ll be feeling sprightly today after a relaxing evening in the rejuvenating hot pools and with the slightly downhill gradient, you’ll be in ‘cruise mode’ on the outward hike. Once back at the trailhead, we’ll rest our bodies with a scenic journey up the coast to the township of Franz Josef where we’ll stay for the next couple of nights. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country. (B, L, D)

    DAY 12-Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike near Franz Josef Glacier Hiking Distance: 4.2 kilometres, 1-2 hours
    This morning we’ll make a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We’ll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along the picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds. Once back in Franz Josef, you’ll have the option to take another hike to the terminal face for exceptional glacier views or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner. (B, L, D)

    DAY 13-Hike Punakaiki rainforest and beaches Hiking Distance: 6 kilometres, 2-3 hours
    This morning, we’ll travel along the coast to check out local art galleries and a pounamu carving workshop in Hokitika. After lunch, we carry on to Punakaiki, where we’ll hike the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons in the footsteps of the gold miners who established this trail over a century ago. While we’re in Punakaiki, we’ll also check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through relentless pounding by the Tasman Sea. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner for the last night of your trip. (B, L, D)

    DAY 14-Depart for home
    We’ll leave after breakfast for the beautiful journey over Arthurs Pass to Christchurch. This is the last day of your ‘Winter Rimu’ trip, and we’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand’s winter landscape. (B, L)

    ActiveAdventuresNZ-Winter Rimu

    Images courtesy of ActiveAdventuresNZ